Pictured: The hair-raising reason for sewer pipe blockage 

20th October 2023

Severn Trent staff were stunned after combing through the sewers to discover the reason for a pipe blockage – it was clogged with SEVEN METRES of hair.

The flowing locks had grown over time into a yucky, messy, mass and bunged up a part of the sewer system in Redditch, Worcestershire.

Severn Trent staff called to the blockage were initially scratching their heads until discovering the giant hairball, which they pulled out and laid end-to-end to show its full length.

The Coventry-based water company is supporting a nationwide Unblocktober campaign during October to urge the public to ‘Be a Binner, Not a Blocker’ to help protect our sewers - and prevent potentially costly blockages in their own homes.

James Mitchell, a Jetting Operative for Severn Trent, was called in to help clear the hair-raising Redditch blockage after a customer reported repeated flooding after heavy rainfall.

He said: “I have never seen anything quite like this. We do get some build up of hair occasionally in the sewers but nothing of this length – it was huge.

“It has obviously built up over a period of time, but the amount of hair is quite extraordinary – especially as it was all in a six inch pipe too.”

Severn Trent staff had to deal with a staggering 34,580 blockages in the last year alone, despite their efforts helping prevent more than TEN MILLION litres of fats, oils and grease from entering the sewers.

James, who has worked as a Jetting Operative for more than seven years,  said basin and shower plugs and guards can be bought cheaply to prevent hair going down into the sewers.

He added: “There are plenty of products out there to help prevent this kind of blockage. It is about changing habits and educating the public on what not to put down our sewers, things like fats, oils and greases which can solidify and cause fatbergs.”

Severn Trent targets problem areas for blockages with information leaflets and visits from our customer liaison community teams, who offer households help and advice on preventing blockages.

Grant Mitchell, Sewer Blockages Lead at Severn Trent, said: “A lot of people don’t know that sewer pipes are only the size of your average toilet roll, so it doesn’t take much to block them. That’s why we’re big supporters of Unblocktober – we want to get the ‘Be a Binner, Not a Blocker’ message out there and help protect our customers and their homes.”

Jacob Larkin, spokesperson for Unblocktober, said: “The support of institutions such as Severn Trent is so important to help us to achieve our goal of reducing the environmental damage caused by poor drain health. We look forward to working with them both to encourage the UK public to continue to take the Unblocktober pledge, and protect our drains and waterways.”